"The sackman's comin', I'm your man Dent. If the quarterback's slow, he's gonna get bent. We stop the run, we stop the pass, I like to dump guys on their ass! We love to play for the world's best fans, you better start makin' your Super Bowl plans!"
Welcome to the newest edition of TLBHB! I thought since this weekend is the induction of the Pro Football Hall of Fame's newest class, i would make this post a tribute to one of the best players (and a Bear!) to be welcomed: Richard Dent! Follow me after the jump to learn some more history about why this fantastic Bear is overdue in his recognition!
Richard Lamar Dent was born December 13th, 1960 in Atlanta, Georgia.
Dent attended Tennessee State University and played football all 4 years.
The Bears selected Dent in the 8th round (203rd pick) of the 1983 NFL Draft. He played for the Bears from 1983 until 1993. As a 6'5, 265 lb pass rusher, he was able to overtake opponents not with strength alone, but speed as well.
He was the MVP of Super Bowl XX. Not only was he a major part of that game, but of the whole season as well. He led the NFL with 17 sacks, intercepted 2 passes (1 for a TD) and recovered 2 fumbles. In the Giants-Bears divisional playoff game alone, he had 2 forced fumbles, and 7 tackles! Remember my post on Wilbur Marshall where I told the story of the lightly falling snow at the NFC Championship game? Well, the man who made Marshall's touchdown possible was Richard Dent - he was the one who knocked the ball out of QB Dieter Brock's hands. During the 1985 season, Dent made a salary of only $90,000 (around $189,000 in today's money).
An interesting story about when Dent was drafted. They later found out that he had very bad teeth. Why does this matter, you ask? Well, after about $3000 worth of dental work, he was able to eat food without pain and gained around 30 lbs. Not such a wimpy, skinny, defensive end anymore, huh?
Dent stayed with the Bears until the end of the 1993 season, after Coach Ditka was replaced by Dave Wannstedt. He then won a Super Bowl ring with the 49ers in the 1994 season, even though he was plagued by injuries. He returned to Chicago in 1995. He would join the Indianapolis Colts in 1996 and the Eagles in 1997.
Richard Dent then retired after 1997. During his entire career, he had 8 INTs, 137.5 sacks. He returned the picks for 89 yards and 1 TD. He also recovered 13 fumbles, of which he returned for 1 TD and 56 yards. During his first stint with the Bears, he scored 124.5 of his sacks. When he retired, he was ranked 3rd in the NFL (behind Reggie White and Bruce Smith) with his 137.5 sacks. He was also selected to 4 Pro Bowls (1984, '85, '990, and '93), was named to the NFL's All-Pro Teams four times, and was All-NFC five times.
"When you start a career, you never think about the Hall of Fame. In my life, I've had a lot of dreams to do all the things in football -- win championships, Super Bowls, lead the league [in sacks] -- but you never think of the Hall of Fame thing. Watching a guy like Walter Payton for many years, he would always say, 'Don't do what I say, do what I do.' If you can do your thing the way he did his, there is a possibility you could be in the Hall of Fame. I'm so thankful to look at a guy like him, and many other guys I played with."
On February 15th, 2008, Dent was inducted into the Georgia Sports Hall of Fame. After being nominated numerous times and being in the Top 15 finalists from 2005-2009 for the Pro Football Hall of Fame, he was finally selected on February 5th, 2011. He will be the 27th Bear in the HOF and the third member from that famed '85 defense to be selected, following Dan Hampton and Mike Singletary.
Currently, other than heading to the HOF, he is "working" with the IRS to reduce the $1,160,056 in delinquent taxes that the IRS claims he owes. About the situation, Dent says, "Nobody can get a pass from the IRS. I'm not running from them. I think they will agree to a number that is nowhere near what they are speaking of."
Dent also is very involved with... cuisine. He is a partner in Harry Caray's Italian Steakhouse; and before his mother passed away in 1989, he helped her prep and cook for her catering business. YUM! Dent's daughter, Mary (named after Dent's mother), is a communications major and volleyball star at Valparaiso University.
How does Mr. Dent feel about his induction?
"It was a long time coming, I am very happy," Dent said. "If you can do your thing the way (Walter Payton) did his, you can be in the Hall of Fame. I am so thankful for this."
We agree, Richard, we agree.